My Medical Story: Clinton B.
You can sum up my medical story by calling it a long, healthy road full of worthy challenges. Doctors said I was born with “the whole package” for folks with Diastrophic Dysplasia. By this, they meant I had most if not all of the medical characteristics associated with this type of dwarfism. From the hitchhiker thumbs, to the club feet, to scoliosis and kyphosis of the spine, a cleft pallet and the list goes on. In my first year of life, I underwent 10 major surgeries, and by the age of 5, I had 23 under my belt. I haven’t had a surgery since 1998, but in total I’ve undergone 30 of them, most major spine / back surgeries and lower ostiotimies (An osteotomy is a surgical operation whereby a bone is cut to shorten, lengthen, or change its alignment). Ostiotimies to current bone and joint deformities in my hips, knees, and feet. All were done to give me a chance at an independent, full functioning life. Mission accomplished, job well done, the task at hand though took long to complete, was completed to perfection.
The journey was hard, and as a child it was difficult to find the light at the end of the tunnel. My body couldn’t enact what my mind wanted it to do. I couldn’t run or play like the rest of the kids, I understood why, and that didn’t make it easier, but I learned. I learned to love the things I could do, the way I could do it. See its not always about doing it the way everyone else is doing it, but learning that we all can do things in our own unique way. I guess figuring that out was the hard part, after that it was a piece of cake. Life doesn’t create cookie cutter paths for all of us, its not supposed to.
Through every struggle there is a lesson to learn about ourselves and I can truly say through all my nights laying down post surgery and in body casts, and halo casts, I was given the chance to learn patience and understand the world through my view. I learned to appreciate the days that were to come, the days that would allow me to walk around on my walker, or scoot around on my scooter without having to be constrained by anything. I learned to communicate better, read better, understand better, and became smarter as a result of my medical journey.
As a family, we never used my surgeries or my dwarfism as an excuse or an out for anything in life. We operated under the assumption that anything could be done as I was growing up. There is no “normal” in this world, we each have our own “normal”. That’s really how I see things. Why spend energy worrying about what we don’t have when we could spend energy enjoying the things we do have? Anytime sadness or negativity creeps in, I say that to myself and the simplicity of it reminds me of what’s really important.
The thing I know now though that I can share with the world regarding what I learned on my medical journey is that we all will face challenges in our lives that will attempt to shake our will and our spirit. With trust and determination, everyone can overcome their challenge, that I know and feel is a fact. Attitude is everything, you either let the challenge defeat you or you can defeat the challenge. Its up to you to decide which one you will make happen. The human spirit can move mountains, can put us on the moon, and has brought people to heights they could only one day have dreamt of, and the only limitations out there are the one’s we put on ourselves. If you can smile and laugh, you will overcome. I hope you enjoy understanding dwarfism and the people who are hear to tell their stories. I for one am proud to be apart of it and thank you all for taking the time to read and educate yourselves and your family.